Thursday, February 19, 2015

A Daring Raid on a Monsanto Stronghold

Yesterday I decided to go on the offensive.  Mostly to spread the word of NMDRCs and Swanson et al.  I decided to target the Genetic Literacy Project, a bastion of Monsantohood.  If I could establish a beachhead there, who knew what might follow?

The first post I landed on seemed to be undefended.  The second, a job on Mother Jones, I got some return fire but remained bogged down in a fairly boring fight over pesticide-testing for safety.  The third post, yet another hack job on Vani Hari aka Food Babe (if she was so hopeless, wouldn’t one have been enough?) brought plenty of action.  After skirmishes in which one Jackson, Carl Graver and others were involved, GLP brought up the heavy artillery and…well, why not see it verbatim?
Derek, Glad you are engaging in this discussion. One note about the above post. You need to do a bit of research on Vandenberg and the journal she has published in. Vandenberg has a well known reputation as a junk science purveyor, despite her pedigree. She is not a scientist but a social science researcher who has part of an "inside group" of campaigning academics who decided--literally--independent of the vast literature on bisphenol A and "endocrine disruption" that almost every chemical was an ED and therefore "dangerous". Again, she's not a scientist. But she has aligned herself with Vom Saal and others with the same ideological convictions, convinced that the US EPA, the European Union, the Canadian Health Organizations, the European Food Safety Authority and the Australian oversight agencies, among others (including in Asia) are involved in a worldwide conspiracy to suppress the "fact" that a host of chemicals deemed safe as used, including BPA and glyphosate, carry "hidden" dangers. Their work has been reviewed and dismissed by every major regulatory agency. So citing her, or her science colleagues, as "authorities" may satisfy a desire to cherry pick opinions favorable to your ideological views, it's not science--it's activist social science--the very definition of junk science. Glyphosate is emphatically not an ED, except in vitro, which means that almost ANY chemical is an ED. It is no more of an ED than is salt. You would elevate the quality of your posts if you actually adhered to mainstream science views. As in the case of the climate change or vaccine safety debates, one can always find SOME scientist or more often a social scientist to support a pre-cooked ideology. But science adheres to no personal opinions. It's about: (1) empirical evidence, and (2) reproducibility of studies. The glyphosate=ED hypothesis fails on both grounds. Junk science.

So I fired the following counter-barrage:

Jon, ditto--an opponent worthy of my steel! But wait a minute now.

 "You need to do a bit of research on Vandenberg"

I did. "B.S., Cornell University, 2003; Ph.D., Tufts University School of Medicine, 2007; Postdoctoral Fellow & Research Associate, The Forsyth Institute Center for Regenerative & Developmental Biology and Harvard University School of Dental Medicine, 2007-2008; Postdoctoral Fellow, Tufts University, Department of Biology and Center for Regenerative & Developmental Biology, 2008-2013." And she works at UMass. Her major academic sin seems to be disagreeing with you.

"and the journal she has published in"

I did that too. “Endocrine Reviews has the highest Impact Factor ranking of the 89 journals in the ISI category of endocrinology and metabolism. Of the total 5,684 surveyed by ISI, EDRV's Impact Factor ranking is #20.” (source: ResearchGate, but you can also consult the original ISIlists.)

"You would elevate the quality of your posts if you actually adhered to mainstream science views."

You mean like WHO reports?  Bergman,A., Heindel, J.J., Jobling, S., Kidd, K.A. and R. Zoeller, T. (eds.), 2013.State of the science of endocrine disrupting chemicals 2012, United Nations Environment Programme and the World Health Organization, ISBN: 978-92-807-3274-0 (UNEP) and 978 92 4 150503 1 (WHO) (NLM classification: WK 102)

or like UC Davis reports?  Janie F. Shelton, Estella M. Geraghty, Daniel J.
Tancredi, Lora D. Delwiche, Rebecca J. Schmidt, Beate Ritz, Robin L. Hansen, and Irva Hertz-Picciotto (2014) Neurodevelopmental Disorders and Prenatal Residential Proximity to Agricultural Pesticides: The CHARGE Study. Environ Health Perspect;DOI:10.1289/ehp.1307044

I'm sorry, Jon. What you guys haven't realized is that science moves on. New things come in and at first from the very nature of things they're not mainstream--how could they be? (I wish I could remember the Five Stages of Acceptance, starting with "That's absolutely preposterous" and finishing with "I've always thought that!") Well, believe me, I'm not cherry-picking--science is moving on, but it's not moving in your direction. I know you'll deny this.  Just wait a while. And I promise not to say "I told you so".

PS: Just nailed the Stages of Acceptance (4, not 5, btw):
“The four stages of acceptance:
1. This is worthless nonsense.
2. This is an interesting, but perverse, point of view.
3. This is true, but quite unimportant.
4. I always said so."
Author? J.B.S. Haldane (icon of Science).

And do you know what?  Since then, Jon has not returned a single shot!

1 comment:

  1. Glad to see someone doing this! I lack the patience for it. What we need most of all is a cadre of counterattack dogs to post relentlessly to MSM and similar comment threads where the paid trolls currently dominate. Though recently I've been seeing a more vigorous response to them from more and more people who actually know the subject and the science. That's encouraging.